Rural Program


The Scottish National Rural Track Programme provides a new and unique opportunity to undertake General Practice. Specialty Training (GPST) in some of the most beautiful and unspoiled parts of the United Kingdom. This new four-year programme, which was offered for the first time in 2012, aims not only to provide you with the competencies described for GPST in the RCGP’s curriculum, but also the competencies to work in rural or remote practice. There were originally, in 2012, just 10 posts however due to the popularity of the scheme, in 2014, we added two additional posts based around the Lorn and Islands hospital in Oban Argyll.

Think of it as ‘GPSTplus’. The programme offers a variety of rotations, each based round a Rural General Hospital (RGH) system. There are six RGHs in Scotland, each with two posts available in rotations based around these RGH systems:
  • Lorn and Islands Hospital, Oban, Argyll 
  • Belford Hospital, Fort William, Lochaber 
  • Caithness General Hospital, Wick, Caithness 
  • Western Isles Hospital, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis 
  • Balfour Hospital, Kirkwall, Orkney 
  • Gilbert Bain Hospital, Lerwick, Shetland 
The experience in our RGHs is ideally suited to GPST. Experience is general and undifferentiated; there is no superspecialisation and you will handle everything from major trauma to minor self-limiting problems, always with the possibility of considering emergency retrieval to bigger centres. The support is hands-on from consultants with no middle grades and the experience for GPST is consistently very highly rated in local and national surveys. Our RGHs are recognised as treasured educational resources and North of Scotland Deanery Foundation Programmes rotate through them routinely and they provide a significant undergraduate teaching role.

For those of you on the Rural Track Program you be well supported in the usual education programme via well-developed VC links and experienced VC facilitators. To augment this we also run an annual specific Rural Workshop. As a Rural Track trainee you are also guaranteed BASICs training and 1 other rural-relevant course in addition to your other study leave.




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